Contributed by Marisa Mohi, OKWB Factotum Extraordinaire
I used to wait tables at the Garfield’s in Crossroads Mall. (Yes, I was there when the teenager got shot. Why does everyone insist on bringing up the most traumatic part of that place instead of loaded waffle cheese fries?!) We had a sign in the kitchen that encouraged all the servers to “S.M.I.L.E.” According to corporate headquarters, that meant to Service every customer as if they were your own, Monitor your cook times, Immediately acknowledge guest complaints, Lead by example, and Exceed expectations every shift.
It’s been almost 10 years since I donned that apron and polo shirt, but I remember that stupid acronym. Today, I wanted to give you an acronym about blogging, but it didn’t work out that way. What can I say? I don’t have a body of corporate trainers in my head that can make snazzy little posters that remind you how to do your job.
But what I do have is 10 ways for you to be a better blogger!
1. Share, share, share!
So, if you’re writing but not sharing your blog via all your social media profiles, you’re totally missing out on free publicity. I know it’s hard to keep up with multiple profiles, but limit yourself to two where you can make the most impact. If you love Facebook and Instagram, but hate Twitter, then share on Facebook and Instagram. There’s no need to put energy into a social media profile that you don’t want to deal with.
With that being said, make sure there are links to your social media profiles on the front page of your blog. If people find you via Facebook and like your stuff, then they’ll probably want to check out your Instagram. Don’t make it hard for people to find you. If a blogger doesn’t have their social media links on the front page of their blog, or in their sidebar that’s always visible, they can’t expect their readers to follow them.
2. Chat it up.
If you want readers but don’t know where to start, you should start commenting. It’s a well known fact that mostly bloggers read blogs. And if you have a blog, you should be reading blogs anyway to see what others are doing. But beyond reading, you should comment. Let those bloggers know you’re out there and that you like what they’re doing. Nine times out of ten, they’ll come take a look at your blog and who knows? Maybe they’ll even become a regular reader.
3. Stalk like there’s no tomorrow.
So, you shouldn’t find out where people live and watch them as they get into their cars in the morning to go to work. You should, however, follow your favorite bloggers on all their social media profiles though. Not only are they more likely to follow you back, but it gives you another chance to interact with others with similar interests, and they may even start sharing your content.
4. Link accounts, but don’t overdo it.
There’s nothing worse than when a person has their Facebook set to automatically update their Twitter every time they do so much as post a photo. Each social media profile is for sharing different content that should be tailored to that audience. Sure, you can share the same links, but how you preface it on Twitter should be different than how you preface it on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and any other profile you use.
5. Be a blogger evangelist.
If you aren’t actively sharing content from other bloggers, then you can’t expect anyone to share yours. The great thing about being part of Oklahoma Women Bloggers is you have access to a group of women who are blogging, and you should get to know their work. Seriously, we have some awesome writers in this group, and it’s a damn shame if you let their work just waste away without sharing it. Next time you see a fellow member of OKWB tweet a link to a post, why not give them a retweet, or share their post on Facebook? The more we share each other’s stuff, the more exposure we get as a group. (You guys. Seriously. Start sharing each other’s content. Just “liking” and “favoriting” isn’t enough. WE MUST BRING THE WORDS OF OUR SISTERS TO THE MASSES.)
6. Find your tribe, and start guest posting.
Like I said, OKWB is a great way to find bloggers, and I’d bet even money there are bloggers in this group who are a lot like you. So, why not try guest posting with another blogger who is similar to you? That way, you not only build up links that lead back to your blog, but you expose yourself to a whole new audience that you didn’t previously have. Plus, you get a day where content is posted to your blog, and you didn’t even have to stay up until midnight to write it.
7. Stick to your style guide.
For me, one of the hardest things about blogging is wanting to do it all–the cute pictures, the crazy blog design, the posts that just don’t fit with your categories. It’s important to remain true to not only who you are, but to the style you set for the blog. Keep your fonts to a minimum, keep your color palette to five colors or less, and use the same watermark for your photos. Consistency not only makes it easier for you because it limits you to fewer options, it also makes you look more professional.
8. Be aware of what others are doing.
Blogs aren’t created in a vacuum. There’s a whole world of content out there on the internet. So, if you’re writing about something you’re incredibly passionate about, it would make sense to link to other blog posts from other bloggers about the topic. Not only will they appreciate you sharing their content, but they’ll most likely return the favor. And by referencing the work of others, it shows that you aren’t trying to steal ideas or content. You’re just adding to the overall conversation.
9. Get on Bloglovin’ IMMEDIATELY.
Bloglovin’, for those who don’t know, is a feed reader and a social network rolled into one. The best part about it is that you can use it to follow blogs, and it aggregates all of them in one place. Then, if you like a post, that blogger is notified. The more likes a post has, the more likely it is to appear on the Bloglovin’ “popular posts” page. And this, my friends, is where you acquire new readers. When someone logs into their Bloglovin’ account, they can see all the popular posts, and if it happens to be one of yours, they may just start following your blog! And don’t even get me started on the search feature. It’s just another way someone can search for a keyword, and come to your blog. Only, they get there a lot faster because Bloglovin’ just searches the blogs that have signed up, not the entire internet the way Google does.
10. Don’t obsess over the numbers.
At the end of the day, the numbers don’t matter. Sure, it’s good to get a lot of page views. But it’s more important to have a genuine connection with your readers than to have a superficial connection with a bunch of strangers. Just be diligent and consistent, and you’ll see your numbers slowly go up. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. (I say this to myself when I think about how my man and I haven’t finished remodeling our house. Rome was not built in a day. Or like, seven years. But who’s counting? Not you! Because you don’t obsess over the numbers.)
So, what do you think? What other things have you done to be a better blogger?
Marisa Mohi teaches Business Writing at the University of Oklahoma and is one half of the editing team at Dominion House. She’s a really sporadic blogger over at MarisaMohi.com, and she’s kind of busy tweeting way too much to get any real work done.